PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Frank Gable walked out of a Kansas prison on Friday morning after spending almost three decades in custody for the killing of former Oregon Department of Corrections director Michael Francke.
Gable, now 59, was sentenced to life in prison for the 1989 stabbing death of Francke. He’s maintained his innocence from day one.
Gable’s wife, Rainy Storm, was outside the prison to meet him.
Speaking to KOIN 6 News sister station Fox 4 News in Kansas City, Gable said,
“We don’t really want to talk about the case, but I’m glad to be out and I’m thankful to the judge for exonerating me and just looking at the case finally and seeing what really happened with state police and the DA’s office and all,” he said. “They did a lot of dirty stuff and it’s just really emotional.”
On Thursday, Oregon District Court Magistrate Judge John Acosta ordered Gable released from prison while the state of Oregon appeals the decision to toss out the conviction.
In April, Acosta said evidence not allowed to be introduced at Gable’s original trial would have likely led to an acquittal and tossed out his conviction. He also said Gable is “probably” innocent.
Acosta ordered Gable be released or retried within 90 days of his order.
After the order was issued on Thursday, Nell Brown, one of Gable’s attorneys, said in part:
“While is took too many years — a number of which were on my watch as my team, at Mr. Gable’s request, took the time needed to investigate the matter exhaustively and in depth — I am overjoyed that an innocent man will finally have his freedom.”
According to the Portland Tribune, Francke was stabbed to death outside his Salem office on Jan. 17, 1989. Gable, a petty criminal, was convicted by a Marion County jury in 1991 even though no physical evidence connected him to the scene of the crime.
The Portland Tribune reported that attorneys for Gable and the state agreed on many conditions for his release. Among other things, he would be under federal supervision, not have any contact with any witnesses in his 1991 trial and would surrender himself to state custody if the appeal reverses Acosta’s ruling.
Gable will also have to report to a probation office in Kansas City and isn’t allowed to travel outside of Kansas or Missouri without permission, according to court documents filed earlier this week.